Press Release
July 17, 2008


Senator Edgardo J. Angara, chairman of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, pushes for the immediate passage of a bill creating the Pensionado Program or a fellowship program for Filipinos employed in the government and private sectors and those who are self-employed.

"We need to create a critical mass of elite professionals that will take the lead in harnessing science and technology in the country. This will accelerate productivity of our human resources and form a collective think tank who shall place continuously their knowledge and skills at the service of the nation�be it in industry, academe, and the government," the Senator pointed out.

Pensionado Act will pool together all foreign and local (public and private) sponsorships intended for further education, enrichment and training of exceptionally able and highly motivated and employed Filipinos. Under the bill, "the maximum utilization of returning talents will be coordinated under a single governing body."

"It is imperative that the Philippines devise a program for overseas education and training for the brightest and most promising Filipinos who are already employed or self-employed in a branch of science or technology. Further, we need to find ways to woo them back to the country,"

While local and overseas scholarship programs have produced a sizeable number of high-level professionals for the country, these have also resulted in a significant brain drain. Moreover, some of the returning scholars have not found the opportunity for the maximum utilization of newly acquired knowledge and training. As a result, many of them leave the country in search of greener pastures abroad.

The Pensionado Program will be under the direct supervision of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in coordination with non-government organizations (NGOs), the private sector and other government agencies such as the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Department of Education (DepEd).

The Program will select 24 fellows annually--3 for each of the 8 disciplines or areas of specialization identified by CHED and NEDA. The Pensionados (scholars) will be sent to a foreign country well-known for its advanced stage in a particular discipline. Training and education may be in an academic institution, research and development (R&D) center or a major industrial establishment with an R&D program. Fellowship will run for a year and may or may not lead to an advanced academic degree.

A National Network of Specialized Institutes for Advanced Studies in universities selected by CHED will be established to provide returned scholars an office, laboratory, library and conference facilities for their continuing activities. The Institute will also serve as a place for an exchange program and collaborative research among local and international scientists and scholars in priority R&D areas.

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